Helena Crumpton faced plenty of challenges when getting her business, an innovative bra storage system called Bra-Voe, off the ground — to the point where financial pressure almost caused her to lose her family home in 2010.
But Helena, mum to two young boys Jerry and Timmy, stayed the course, and after five years has finally ticked off a number of her personal goals. “If you truly believe in something,” she says, “don’t ever give up, and never be afraid to dream.”
She Knows AU: Describe yourself in one sentence.
Helena Crumpton: I’m very family orientated, soft but determined, loyal and friendly; I love humour, and I’m creative but flighty.
SK AU: Who is your family?
HC: My wonderful husband Greg, my two adorable little boys, Jerry, 10, and Timothy, 8 (they are my greatest motivation). We also have a dog, Milly, and a bunny, guinea pig and pet lizards for the boys.
SK AU: What do you call home?
HC: I live in a lovely old 107-year old home in Emu Plains. It’s very homely and always full of kids. It’s a home that has beautiful old verandas to sit and have a drink on and watch the boys in the yard, when we can. There is always music playing.
SK AU: How many different hats do you wear on a daily basis?
HC: My hats on a daily basis are wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend, and of course running Bra-Voe.
Working mums guide: How to make time for your kids >>
SK AU: How do you balance the demands of parenting with your relationships, career and hobbies?
HC: OMG, sometimes the balance seems so unachievable! I work long hours on Bra-Voe but still try and do so many hands-on things with the boys. I ring my parents and family every day to check on them, most of the time wishing I was seeing them instead of ringing. I stay in touch with so many girlfriends, often at odd hours of the night to fit them in — I never have time to meet for coffee. At the moment I have no hobbies except keeping up, sometimes I squeeze in the odd run. Greg and I rarely do anything without the boys at the moment so our relationship is really combined with family time. It won’t always be like this, I’m hoping the pressure valve can release a little once we are on the market.
SK AU: What are you most proud of that you’ve achieved, both in your personal life and in your career?
HC: I have been consumed by Bra-Voe for a long time and although it will still be extremely busy, it will be good once we are on the market to be able to just wind back a little at home and take care of the people I love. The only way I handle all these demands is because I am propped up by wonderful family, friends and neighbours. In my career, I am proud of an old home called Southall in the Blue Mountains that Greg and I completely renovated and turned into a gorgeous bed and breakfast. It became an award-winning romantic retreat and received coverage on television and rave reviews in major papers and accommodation guides. I’m also proud of my 12 years in real estate and I’m very proud of my Bra-Voe journey, for surviving the struggle for over five years, and for the persistence and determination I have held all the way through the journey.
SK AU: What has surprised you the most or been the biggest challenge about becoming a parent?
HC: Oh so many things — just the joy of watching them whether they are playing, sleeping, fighting, fishing, playing sport, playing piano, doing triathlons, building something in the shed, inventing something… days when you want to pull your hair out, which is most days, are all worth it. It’s the “knowing”. Knowing they are yours, knowing you will love them forever, knowing they are there in the morning to cuddle, knowing they exist, knowing they are going to grow up into individual little people. The amazing love you have for these little people and in my case the ease in which you settle down as soon as you become a parent was so surprising — I was amazed how you look at life differently and become more careful.
SK AU: If you had an hour to yourself (or an entire day!), what would you love to do?
HC: Time to myself — what is that? I can’t really imagine not having a huge list to do for the day! Okay if I had a choice and money to do it, I would go shopping for new things for my house and start doing up my home. I have so many plans for the home that have been on the back burner for five years because we have just poured all our money into Bra-Voe. Now you’ve got me started, I would love to go to a nice restaurant near the water with all our friends for lunch and shout them.
SK AU: What is the best advice you’ve heard or could offer other mothers juggling hectic schedules?
HC: My ideal way to spend 24 hours would be to be surrounded by my family and friends probably on the veranda with all the friends’ kids playing in the yard or maybe overlooking a beach. All catered for by Bra-Voe and sitting in my freshly renovated and decorated home.
More inspirational mums
Inspirational mums: 5 Minutes with Emily-Jade O’Keefe
Inspirational mums: Chatting with Kate Foster
Inspirational mums: CEO of ModelCo, Shelley Barrett